Otto is a thuggish factory worker, his girlfriend Martha is a self-employed butcher. In Through the Leaves, billed as a "darkly comic study of emotional need", the inarticulate meets the ever-hopeful in a battle of wills over the compromises each is prepared to make in their combative sexual relationship.
During its run this past January at Southwark, the production - directed by Callow's partner Daniel Kramer - generated several headline in the tabloids, which criticised Callow - and, more particularly, his physique - for a bath scene he plays in the buff. The star went on to publicly defend his right to bare all on stage, saying he "had nothing left to hide" (See The Goss, 20 Jan 2003).
As an actor, Callow's other recent stage credits include The Mystery of Charles Dickens, The Importance of Being Earnest and The Chimes at Midnight, while he's appeared in numerous films including Shakespeare In Love, Four Weddings and a Funeral and Howard's End. He's also an accomplished director whose latest stage production - Jus' Like That, in which Jerome Flynn plays the late comedian Tommy Cooper - also arrives in the West End next month, opening at the Garrick Theatre on 8 April (previews from 3 April).
Mitchell and Callow have worked together several times in the past. The actress' other recent stage credits include Britannicus and Peter Hall's epic production of John Barton's Tantalus for the RSC.
Through the Leaves was written by Kroetz in 1976 and has been translated from the German for this production by Anthony Vivis. The production is designed by Soutra Gilmour, with lighting by Charles Balfour. It's presented in the West End by Stanhope Productions.
- by Terri Paddock